Bill Clinton chimes in on N.C. same-sex marriage ban
May 6th, 2012
04:17 PM ET
3 years ago

Bill Clinton chimes in on N.C. same-sex marriage ban

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton voiced his opposition to an upcoming North Carolina ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage, recording a robo call set to go out to half a million voters in the state on Monday.

“Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I'm calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8,” Clinton says in the recording.

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While North Carolina already bans same-sex marriage, the provision would officially stamp the policy defining marriage as the union of one man and one women as an amendment into the Constitution, making it the final state in the Southeast to add such a law regarding same-sex marriage.

Amendment One outlaws not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships of the same gender.

In Clinton’s robo call, he insists the passage of the law would have a damaging effect on the state’s reputation and economy.

“If it passes, it won't change North Carolina's law on marriage. What it will change is North Carolina's ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs,” he says.

In the call, released by the advocacy group Protect NC Families, Clinton went on to say losing even one job as a result of the measure would be “too big of a risk.”

“So the real effect of the law is not to keep the traditional definition of marriage, you've already done that,” Clinton said. “The real effect of the law will be to hurt families and drive away jobs. North Carolina can do better.”

Clinton, who once opposed same-sex marriage, changed his personal position on the issue and made his decision public in 2009.

“I am no longer opposed to that," he said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. "I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it."

He added, however, he still believes it's a decision that should be left to the states.

Other high-profile figures have weighed in on the debate, including famed evangelist Billy Graham, who endorsed the initiative last week.

The 93-year-old took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure. On his website, he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message "Vote for Marriage May 8th."

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," the pastor said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. "I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

– CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin and CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • North Carolina • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Veridico

    He should be talking about moral issues. Give me a break.

    May 6, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  2. fernace

    We can continue to argue that this is an issue of morality/ religious ideology/majority rule, but the real question is 1 of law:Are gays rights already guaranteed by the const.itution? Yes! How can we then support laws meant to limit, diminish or ban those rights? The 60s weren't so long ago that people don't remember! Do we really want to make the same mistake again!? Segregation was wrong then & is wrong now! I urge people to use their freedom of speech & vote! It matters!!

    May 6, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Bootstomper

    The south is still fighting the civil war. The south will never change thank god I don't live anywhere near bubba.

    May 6, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. Holly in CA

    It's not surprising Clinton is in favor of g ay marriage. It's the first step toward legalizing polyg amy. A law allowing multiple wives, has Clinton's name written all over it.

    May 6, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to wonder if this is really a priority for states to do? Is it really needed? I don't think that this is something that needs to be the focus.

    May 6, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. gt

    clinton did not do anything for homosexutals when he was gov. of ark......ck his record...

    May 6, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. d

    Yet another state bites the dust! so much for freedom huh nc? gop is all about small government right?Not! shame on you all if you vote this in...

    May 6, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. Traveler RN

    The ammendment will be declared unconstitutional.Gay are here to stay.People will leave,and there economy will suffer.The young people will not vote for it.They are smarter than their elders

    May 6, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. Name

    I think by telling gay people they can't marry their lovers is telling them they cant have have what other normal couples should have and that's not fair I believe that man should be happy in any way they chose

    May 6, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. hamsta

    God destroyed sodom and gammorha for a reason.where do you think the word sodomy came from?

    May 6, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. NOvember 2012

    the liberal areas of the country don't seem to marry...the shack up. Now that gays are marring I expect divorce rates to increase..dramatically. Gays have difficulty making long term relationships work...for some reason.

    May 7, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  12. Phillco

    When couples enter into a life long partnership whether straight or gay, it benefits humanity and hurts no one.

    May 7, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  13. s.s

    Does this mean the gay union! is a liberal issue! if yes the liberals are the party which cares for social issues well! is goproud or goproudly a liberal group or conservative group ! you can't have it both ways. Millions have no jobs and that what we should be talking about not who marries who!! infact the polygamist sect guy should be released from prison!

    May 7, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  14. David Witcraft

    Bad choice. It would be really embarrassing to put two new englanders on the ballot, then lose most of those states to Obama!

    May 7, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  15. bullock w

    I'm belived that God don't like about marriage gay but God don't like bill clinton saying his word mouth about marriage gay

    May 7, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  16. steveorevo

    Unfortunately, it is looking like it will be much easier training a shitzu to mind it's own business then teaching a southern bell to keep their nose out of their neighbor's spouse's crotch.

    What's between your legs shouldn't be a concern for tax rates, medical coverage, inheritance, property rights, or last wishes.

    May 7, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  17. Marie MD

    What does the Constitution have to do with love and who you marry?
    Good ole billy graham, what a clown he has become, go talk to your son, if marriage between a man and a woman are the foundation of "our", really your warped society. how many marriages between the opposite sex end in divorce? Over 50%. Yeah, that's quite a foundation to build on.

    May 7, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  18. The real 4 and the door!!

    Now that gives all the reasons to vote for Amendment One

    May 7, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  19. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Here we go again, the democrats pandering to the perverts.

    May 7, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  20. hamsta

    They call connectors male and female for a reason.male + female is what works. male + male or female + female will never work.

    May 7, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  21. hamsta

    The gay lifestyle is immoral unnatural and an abomination of god.

    May 7, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. keldorama

    Again I ask "if we are truly protecting the institution of marriage, why not ban adultery? Why is there no constitutional amendment making it illegal to have sex with someone not your spouse? Isn't THAT a greater threat to a marriage?"

    The idea that my husband of 27 years would somehow choose to leave me to marry another man simply because he can is ludicrous. It's much more likely that spouses cheat, with the OPPOSITE sex, leading to divorce and the breakup of the family. What do you say about that, Mr. Graham?

    May 7, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  23. bigtbone

    Sorry to see decent people deprived of rights in this day n age. I'm willing to double down on this one: make marriage available for any couple, but each person is allowed to marry only once in their life (unless widowed).

    Then these moral pushing entities can put up or shut up. People would have to seriously consider marriage as the huge commitment it is, instead of just haphazardly jumping the broom.

    Or what about having to be married for 5yrs before legally recognized? Both my solutions offer something the nc law doesnt: dignity.

    May 7, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  24. Get Real

    Will the real Christian please stand up? One serves God and one serves Mammon.
    And we all know that Billy Graham has served God for decades.
    So with a statement like Clinton's we know who's serving Mammon.

    May 7, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  25. Chut Pata

    Billy Graham has always made big money by preaching hate. First behind the door against the jews, now in the front against Moslems, and in and out always against people who are physically different than us. This law just does not bans marriage of homosexuals, it also bans civic union of two transexuals who can not marry to a man or a woman. Everyone needs a spouse, and just who is Billy Graham to stop it? Where is the morality here that he speaks of?

    May 7, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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